Sens send Penguins packing

Ottawa Senators' Jonathan Cheechoo scores a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins' goalie Brent Johnson....

Ottawa Senators' Jonathan Cheechoo scores a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins' goalie Brent Johnson. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Chris Phillips played his own version of Crazy Eights Thursday.

Suiting up for the 800th game of his NHL career, the Senators defenceman led the attack in a 6-2 victory over Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins in front of 17,039 at Scotiabank Place with his first two-goal performance in nearly eight years.

Phillips, who scored twice on Nov. 22, 2001 against the Flames, chipped in with career goals 53 and 54 to help the Senators put together their first back-to-back victories since Oct. 17.

“It feels good. When you’re not expected to do that, it feels good for sure,” said Phillips, who scored twice in a span of 2:03 in the third period. “It was one of those high-energy games for us and it sure feels nice. That was a big game for us. We wanted a good effort.

“The last few games we’ve had one area going or just some guys going. We wanted to piece it all together and I thought we did a good job. The two goals came pretty quick. The guys were on me trying to get me to shoot and they put me on the power play at the end to try to get the third. It definitely doesn’t take away. I’m pretty happy.”

While Phillips, who now has three career two-goal games, helped to serve up pizza as part of Ottawa’s six-goal performance, he wasn’t the only one with a big night. Centre Mike Fisher chipped in with three assists, while Chris Kelly, Alex Picard and Nick Foligno all had two-point efforts.

Goaltender Pascal Leclaire wasn’t tested a lot by the Pens, but he made 25 stops. Milan Michalek, Matt Carkner and Jonathan Cheechoo also scored for the Senators, who put this game away in a span of 5:43 of the third when they chased Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury from the net.

The Penguins were undermanned, missing regulars Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy, Alex Goligoski, Brooks Orpik and Jay McKee, but they still have plenty of talent and this was a big test for the Senators to show they can stand up to a top team in the Eastern Conference.

“They’re missing a lot of defencemen, but they had their offensive guys in (up front), they had (Sergei) Gonchar back and (Maxime) Talbot. We still did a pretty good job for the most part,” said Fisher.

“We gave up some odd-man rushes in the first period, but, for the most part, we did a pretty good job shutting them down. It was a good, all-around effort. We kept going. We got everything to the net and we were able to bury our chances.”

It was a tight-checking game until the Senators broke it open.

“Most of the game, we didn’t play well and it caught up to us in the third,” said Crosby, who has only scored two goals in 15 regular-season games against the Senators and has never scored in Ottawa. “They were able to put a bunch together. They put a lot of pressure on our defence and we didn’t do a good job of getting it out of our zone.”

The only bad news for the Senators is they’ll be without winger Alexei Kovalev Saturday against the Sabres. He left for Russia immediately after the game to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral.

Winger Shean Donovan suffered a leg injury late and his status is unknown.


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